Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) will head into the Tour de France looking to emulate his twin brother Adam and win the white jersey for best young rider, hoping that the unusual course could play into his hands.
The 2017 Tour de France route features just 36.5km of time trialling and only three summit finishes, a course which Yates thinks could suit a rider of his characteristics and encourage aggressive racing.
“I think the course is good for me,” Yates said at a press conference two days ahead of Grand Départ in Düsseldorf.
“I like to race and I like aggressive racing and I think it could play into my hands. We’ll have to see as it’s a different Tour to normal and there could be a few surprises.”
That was a sentiment echoed by Matt White, Yates’s sports director at Orica-Scott, who predicted an exciting three weeks of racing.
“It’ll be one of the tightest Tours in terms of GC in a long time because there aren’t many opportunities for GC goes to make a difference, so when they do want to make a difference they’ll have to really go for it,” White said.
“The organisers have put a lot of the hard climbs between 15 and 40km from the finish which should make for more exciting racing earlier in the stage and less arriving on the climb and going from there. Descents will also be a factor and there should be some interesting tactics.”
Watch: Tour de France preview – stages one to nine
Yates will start the Tour as Orica-Scott’s co-leader with Esteban Chaves, and although he will be targetting a high position on GC and with it the white jersey for best young rider, the team management will judge his Tour more on the manner of his riding rather than necessarily the final result.
“He’ll have his hands full with [Louis] Meintjes and [Emanuel] Buchmann for white but I think it’s a very realistic goal,” continued White.
“It’s his first Tour for GC, so I’m not going to put a number on what would be a successful Tour for him.
“It’s ridiculous putting a number on it without looking at circumstances. Adam finished ninth at the Giro, but obviously he would have finished higher he hadn’t got taken out by a police motorbike.
“It’s about the effort not the number. You have to think about the process, not just about the result. Whether he finishes fifth or he finishes 12th, that’ll be a success for a 24 year old riding for GC at the Tour for the first time.”